8 Minutes to De-Stress

De-stress in 8 Minutes or Less

Are you stressed out?  Here is a trick that will help you feel energized and only take 8 minutes.
What You’ll Need:
1 aromatherapy candle and matches
1 mat or chair
1 cup of various fruit (e.g., strawberries, apple, banana, grapes, peaches), cut into small pieces
Soft, relaxing music (e.g., natural-sounding environmental music)

  0:00-1:00: Be sure that the temperature of the surrounding area is comfortable and quiet, and that you will be uninterrupted for at least 8 minutes. Silence any telephones and minimize other distractions. Have the fruit within reach, in a dish or container, and set a low volume for your inspirational music. Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs outstretched or your ankles crossed, or you may opt to sit in a chair if that is more comfortable.

1:00-2:00: Light the candle in front of you. Inhale and exhale slowly with your eyes closed until you can smell the aromatherapy from the candle. When you start to perceive the scent, concentrate on that scent as you continue to breathe deeply, completing approximately 10 deep breath cycles.

2:00-4:00: Concentrate on the power of the breath as you deepen your sense of awareness. Slow down your rate of breathing, inhaling as you count in your mind “1, 2, 3.” On “3” take a slight pause and exhale, reversing the process as you count backwards in your mind “3, 2, 1.” Without forcing it, work to balance the breath, taking the same amount of time to inhale as you do to exhale.

5:00-7:00: Connecting back into the physical body, reach your arms onto the floor behind you, placing the palms down as you prepare for a seated backbend. Think of lifting up and back with the heart, gazing toward the ceiling or sky slowly to avoid letting the head drop back too far back. Find a position that you can maintain comfortably and concentrate on inhaling—filling your lungs with nourishing oxygen—as the spine extends.

7:00-8:00: Slowly lie down on the floor and bend your knees if they are not already bent, placing feet flat on the floor. Moving into bridge, keep your hands on the floor by your sides and slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling or sky and hold this position. Imagine the flow of blood bringing nutrients, oxygen and energy toward the heart and head. Also feel the muscles of your hips, which are normally flexed while seated, now begin to open and stretch.

Slowly return to your initial sitting position, blow out the candle and reach for the container of fruit. Close your eyes and eat the fruit with your eyes closed, concentrating on the taste alone. Try to consume only one piece of fruit at a time, avoiding combining the flavors in your mouth. Taking the time to eat with the eyes closed turns on the sense of taste and allows you to taste each individual flavor without rush. Take as long as you need to in order to finish this mind-body snack without rushing.

Now that you’ve taken a quick “spa break for the soul,” you can return to your normal routine feeling invigorated, refreshed and restored.

For more information on de stressing, contact Maurie Cofman, AHFS, CES, TBMM-CES, Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist in the St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO area.